Recent bilateral initiatives for climate financing: are they moving in the right direction?

16 September 2008
Neil Bird and Leo Peskett
Comment
This Opinion examines the sudden rise in the number of donor funding mechanism to support climate change programmes. Over the past year, a whole range of traditional donor countries have created such funds, including the governments of Australia, Germany, Japan, Spain and the UK, together with the European Union (Box 1), with pledges totalling $2.7 billion per year over the next few years. The impetus behind these new financial mechanisms has been, partly, a frustration with existing frameworks for technology transfer and investment that are not sufficiently responsive to the global challenges of climate change. However, these initiatives raise some important questions about the underlying relationship between the North and South. First, what will these proposed new funds support? Second, is the scale of funding adequate to meet the challenges posed by climate change? Third, do these new funds represent a new response to tackling climate change, or are they simply the continuation of official development assistance? Finally, how will these funds be disbursed? The proliferation of funding initiatives over the past year represents an important statement of intent by northern countries to support global actions on climate change. However, the apparent hast of these developments appears to have been at the expense of conceptual thinking on how this finance should be delivered. Providing more of the same will not do -- the opportunity to establish a new global accord on financing climate change is in danger of being missed.  
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Senior Research Fellow
Neil's current research focuses on environmental policy and international funding mechanisms being [...]